Watching the Queen last week during her husband, The Duke Of Edinburgh’s funeral made me so sad like the rest of the nation. Whether you are a royalist or not the plain fact is a woman has lost her husband! During all the coverage The Duke of Edinburgh award was mentioned numerous times, as a youngster it was not something that appealed to me but the benefits for those taking part seem amazing. It made me think who would be awarded a DofE if a footballer took part:
Due to the award age range being 14-24 only footballers in that bracket are considered. The physical criteria is ticked off as the awardees are footballers. The volunteering and expedition criteria relate to a young footballer who is on loan and finally the skill is judged on how well the young player has performed while on loan this season.
My chosen few to honour Prince Phillip are as follows:
Joe Willock – Joining Newcastle has been the making of Joe, in the Europa League he’s performed to a adequate level but whenever granted a Premier League start for Arsenal the opputinuty was never taken. Playing in the advanced midfield position, high energy and enthusiasm to join the attack are requirements but when you are playing for the top sides, finesse of the highest grade is a must. Willock does not possess a killer pass, mazy dribbling or rocket pace in his skillset, he is a honest hard worker. 3 goals in 9 games has been a great return and its not a surprise Newcastle want to sign him this summer, the fee will be affordable (£20m) and enables them to play 4-2-3-1 with a goal threat from the centre man in the 3 who also works hard off the ball.
Fikayo Tomori – Frank Lampard lost faith in Tomori last season and from outsiders it seemed strange, its clear now Lampards coaching leaves a lot to be desired due to Chelsea’s form since he left. Its hard to see Tomori ever playing for Chelsea again, his form at AC Milan has meant club captain Ramagnoli is likely to be shipped out and the £28m loan release clause activated. To stand out in Serie A where defending is a art form is truly remarkable. His loan form alone is a deserving cause for the award but the fact he is playing abroad during a worldwide pandemic epitomises bravery for a young man.
Jack Harrison – Jacks whole life has been one massive expedition, born in England at 14 he left the Man Utd academy and went to High School in America. From there he was drafted no1 in the MLS Draft at 20 and after 2 years in the MLS joined Man City. He has never played for City spending all his time on loan at Leeds Utd bar a short time at Middlesboro. This summer its expected he will join Leeds on a permanent deal with the value a steal at £7m! He has been the first choice player on the left hand side during this impressive season for Bielsa, if England did not have so many choices out wide he would surely be a consideration by Southgate for a squad place.
Freddie Woodman – Another long term loan player, Woodman is currently enjoying his 2nd season with Swansea. Newcastle will have a big decision this summer, do they cash in on Woodman and continue with Dubravka & Darlow or sell one of those guys and place Freddie in a position to seriously challenge for the no1 spot. Its fair to say he has been the best and most consistent goalkeeper in the Championship.
Conor Gallagher – Conor starred last season on loan in the Championship with Swansea and has made the step up this year with WBA. Its probably too soon for him to challenge for a Chelsea starting spot so another season on loan beckons (preferably a more secure PL team like a Palace, W Ham or Southampton). The adversity playing for WBA has been a challenge but he has been a bright spark.
Ademolo Lookman – Its amazing to think this young man is on loan at Fulham from a German club and already in his career played in the Premier League for Everton. He has been the star man at Craven Cottage this season, which is great to see as he was overlooked so often when with Everton. What he has gone through already in his career shows he needs a prolonged stay at a club who believe in him, being well travelled already should not be a negative.
I would love to hear from you if you feel i have missed someone or disagree with any of the above? Please leave any comments below!